As noted in our update of 6 February 2014, new regulations came into force on 31 January 2014, designed to simplify the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) and to codify some appeal decisions made in recent years.
Now, in a new twist, Labour leader Ed Miliband has tabled a motion in the House of Commons, asking for the amendments known as the Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2013, or CRATUPEAR, to be annulled.
The motion signed by Ed Miliband and 19 other MPs, including Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls and Shadow Minister for Trade and Investment Ian Murray, comes as a surprise due to the lack of opposition that the amendments faced in the consultation and legislative process.
Employment Relations Minister Jenny Willott had previously explained that the amendments would give businesses greater clarity when conducting transfers while also "protecting fairness for all" and ensuring the"appropriate levels" of protection for employees.
However, Frances O'Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), has said that the"watering down of TUPE law will make it easier for private companies to compete to take over our public services by lowering staff costs and boosting their profits, which will reduce the quality of services that tax payers use and pay for. These new regulations will increase poverty pay, particularly for staff in catering, cleaning and social care – at a time when living standards are already squeezed."
At present, CRATUPEAR is in force and the outcome of the motion remains to be seen. However, given that Labour does not hold the majority in the House of Commons, it is perhaps unlikely that the motion will succeed.
For a summary of the amendments, please click here.